With the Coronavirus sweeping across almost all borders, fear and anxiety has gripped hearts around the world. No one seems safe anymore and everyone is searching for methods of protection. In times of crisis however, the children of God, as it has happened right through history, can find encouragement and comfort through the promises of God. One such passage people often turn to for comfort is Psalm 91.
As I look at social media today, I find many people sharing either the entire passage of Psalm 91 or at least parts of it, to strengthen others. Through this article, I would like to share my thoughts as well regarding this beautiful Psalm. Do keep your Bible open to Psalm 91 as you read.
A man was constantly worrying that somebody was under his bed. He went to a Counselor who was willing to help him, but at a high fee, over many months. A few weeks later the Counselor met the man on the street and asked him why he had not returned. The man replied, “I met a friend who gave me some great advice for free. It worked perfectly’. The Counselor asked what advice had been given him and the man replied, ‘He asked me to cut the legs of the bed down to ground level”!
How much we worry and how many of our worries are unfounded? Unhealthy worrying can cripple us to the point of making us ineffective and unable to cope with life’s challenges. It can also lead to depression. We worry over sickness, viruses, finances, family, children, salt, sugar, unforeseen dangers and many other things.
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka – Photo Credit: Vasantha Jayasooriya
Let me begin this sermon on God’s restoration with the following illustration.
One of the historical wonders of Sri Lanka is the complex rock fortress, Sigiriya, and the palace built on it by one of our former Kings, Kasyapa, many centuries ago. It is an amazing place to see & tourists flock there to view its beauty, grandeur and craftsmanship. One of the highlights of Sigiriya is the frescoes that are painted on the rock walls. These and the site itself are considered National treasures, with UNESCO listing Sigiriya as a world heritage site. (If ever you come over to Sri Lanka, you need to visit Sigiriya).
Many years ago, some of the frescoes were vandalized by an unknown group of people, with, (if I remember correctly), either ink or paint being thrown, to deface them. As a result, many experts had to be brought in (foreign and local), to work at restoring these frescoes back to their original state. Thankfully, they succeeded in most of their painstaking efforts.
“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance”. (Psalm 65:11 NLT)
What a powerful verse for the New Year!
As the year comes to an end, you may be going through much reflection as to what happened in the past 12 months. Some will have testimonies, others will remember severe challenges, while some others may think of the health issues they had to face. Some might say, ‘It was my best year’, while others may say, ‘it could have been better’, or, ‘It was a disaster’! The list can go on. Of course, most of the year was overshadowed by COVID -19.
.While preparing this message, here are some old memories that went through my mind.
Many buildings that look strong on the outside develop cracks and some collapse, due to the foundation being weak. Bad foundations produce bad buildings! It’s no different with building a blessed family. Didn’t the Lord Jesus Himself give us the parable of the house on the Rock and the one on sand (Matthew 7:24-27)? The house on the Rock stood firm because it had the right foundation.
In this article, I would like to share what I believe are 5 vital foundations for building a blessed family. They are:
I wonder how many times you have been let down by someone? There are many people who promise us that they will stand by us, no matter what comes our way. They say, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you’. However, when trouble strikes, they desert us. In fact, many of them are so far behind that you can’t see them even with a telescope!
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time (Colossians 4:5 – ESV)
Devotional on Giving Time:
It was going to be a busy day – I was already running late for my first meeting. While struggling to get into my car hurriedly, I peered into the vehicle passing by. Instantly, I recognized the face – it was an old friend who now lived overseas. I waved at him, silently thankful that he passed by without stopping. I had no time for chats today. We could maybe meet up later.
To my dismay, I heard the screech of brakes behind me. “Oh no,” I thought, “He’s stopping.” I looked back and sure enough, the car was being reversed. “No option but to talk now,” I said to myself as he stepped out. After a brief but pleasant chat my friend ended the conversation saying, “Happy we could meet Palitha. I’m leaving tomorrow. Let’s stay in touch.” He then drove away.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? —Matthew 6:26
It was with a heavy heart that I sat down for my daily hour of meditation and prayer. “Lord, I need added faith this morning” I prayed. Many anxieties weighed upon me – chief among them being that my son would have to physically attend his main Cambridge exam in the midst of a lockdown, with Covid infections rising.
A few minutes later, I felt an urge to open our balcony door; something I normally don’t do till I finish praying. Little did I realize that such a simple decision, ordained I believe by God, would provide me with a powerful lesson.
What are your hopes for Christmas this year? Are you surrounded by unfulfilled dreams, unanswered questions, setbacks, and loneliness? Are you looking for restoration and hope after the challenges of the pandemic? This devotional titled ‘Christmas Reflections’ contains 21 easy to read nuggets of inspiration that will give you encouragement to face the Christmas Season.
Christmas ReflectionsContents –
The topics covered in this 21-day Christmas Devotional are :
Christmas – A Season for Dreams (3 Devotionals)
The Christmas Light (3 Devotionals)
The Heart of Christmas (3 Devotionals)
Questions at Christmas Time (3 Devotionals)
The Christmas Names – of the Christ Child (4 Devotionals)
God Speaks at Christmas Time (2 Devotionals)
Also included – God’s Favor on the New Year (3 Devotionals)
Our prayer is that the contents in this devotional will inspire you to enjoy the best Christmas yet! Get your copy today from amazon.com here.
The lady who called me was clearly struggling as her depression had worsened. She had been through many sleepless nights and kept hearing voices at times. Restful sleep had eluded her the previous night as well. “Pastor, could you please pray with me?” she requested. I did. I prayed with her.
I normally sleep well at night, but there are some occasions when I struggle too; particularly if a tough decision or a difficult conversation is ahead of me. On such occasions, I generally feel quite sluggish the following day. Focusing on my work seems more difficult too. “If I struggle so much after losing just one night’s sleep, how difficult must it be for someone who has to cope with many sleepless nights?” I thought to myself after the call.
This devotional is based around a Shunammite lady who had been greatly blessed by Elisha’s ministry. Not only was she blessed with the miracle of a child (2 Kings 4:17), but later, the now grown up son, was raised from the dead through God’s power (2 Kings 8:1).
On Elisha’s instructions thereafter, she had left her home and gone to Philistine territory to avoid a 7 year famine (8:1-2). When the famine was over, she returned home, only to find to her dismay that the house and land no longer belonged to her. It is possible that the land had either been seized by the Government, or been encroached on.
(We have amalgamated 3 of our devotionals to bring you a 3-point sermon on one page about how God cares for His children.)
Introduction:In an interview with The Reader’s Digest magazine, Grammy Award winning pop singer Gloria Estefan spoke graciously about her year one teacher, Dorothy Collins, who helped shape her early English language skills. Gloria has in fact spoken many times of that period in her life and the challenges she faced (including severe teasing), as a foreign student, particularly due to her inability to communicate in English. However, Gloria received assistance in her language skills and was given the confidence to persevere by her teacher, Dorothy Collins.
Eventually, Gloria won the class reading prize and went on to study languages at University. She also built a highly successful international career in pop music. Said Gloria, “My year one teacher didn’t just teach me the language; she helped me find my voice.“
Finding God’s Favor – Introduction: Most people, especially those with a heart for adventure, like wide, open spaces. On our travels too, we prefer to move away from crowded cities looking for open spaces. We look for beaches, mountains, open roads, rivers etc to enjoy open spaces and the beauty of nature
In sporting events like rugby, soccer, cricket and basketball, when a team gives the opposing team additional room or extra space to make a move, it can lead to giving them an opportunity to score and maybe even win the game. I am reminded of Carlos Alberto’s legendary goal for Brazil in the final of the 1970 soccer World Cup. Yes, finding extra room can even be a deciding factor between victory and defeat.